In 1969 first ceremony for the Man Booker Prize for Fiction began. The award would come to be seen as a high-profile sign of recognition of a person’s work in literature. Authors have to publish an original novel in the UK to be considered as candidates. This year’s edition acknowledged the power of storytelling that George Saunders exhibited in his ‘Lincoln in the Barado.’
On Tuesday, George Saunders received in London the Man Booker Prize for fiction. Her Royal Highness, the Duchess of Cornwall, was this year’s official who passed the trophy on to the new winner during a ceremony that took place at Guildhall.
The prize isn’t just about a financial reward of $66,000. It is a high-profile mark that everyone in today’s literature circle recognizes. All winners gained access to international reputation and success. Previous names that unlocked new possibilities thanks to Booker Prize are Michael Ondaatje, Salman Rushdie, Julian Barnes, Margaret Atwood, and Hilary Mantel.
Until recently, Saunders’ name was linked only to short fiction that ingeniously blends empathy with satire. MacArthur ‘Genius’ Fellowship awarded his storytelling power in 2006.
Saunders Won the Man Booker Prize Thanks to His First Entry in the Experimental Literature
‘Lincoln in the Bardo’ is the first full-length novel of George Saunders. The book was published this year and was meant to be part of experimental literature. The novel has the 16th president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, as the main character.
The text explores the deep grief the president felt when his son, Willie, died of typhoid fever. George Saunders imagined Lincoln visiting the crypt where Willie’s cold body lies. However, the story is told from the perspective of numerous ghosts that haunt the graveyard.
The narrative episodes jump from one ghost to another without a warning. The novel shortly turns into a chaotic yet fascinating canvas. In the end, 166 voices try to paint the portrait of the bereaved president in their own way.
“The form and style of this utterly original novel, reveals a witty, intelligent, and deeply moving narrative.”
This year’s chair of the Booker Prize panel was Baroness Lola Young. She stated that Saunders’ first novel stood out from the crowd immediately. The style bursts with unique edges and the souls trapped between life and death are well-constructed elements of paradox.
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